Romancing the Triple Bump

The Sundance Film Festival was wrapping up in late January and the Salt Lake City (SLC) Airport was swamped. My United Airlines flight to Washington Dulles (IAD) was booked solid and the gate agent was looking for a volunteer to give up their seat.  Usually when these opportunities arise I am too busy to take advantage…but this time I had some flexibility.

Salt Lake Plaza Hotel
View of Temple Square from Salt Lake Plaza Hotel

I volunteered my seat and the agent booked me on the same flight the next day.  She issued me a voucher for $400 good for future travel on United, $20 in food vouchers, and booked a hotel reservation at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City.

The vouchers were only good at airport restaurants so I stocked up at Starbucks with a fruit salad, Odwalla smoothies, and a sandwich.  The hotel shuttle  transported me to the hotel, which is  centrally located next to Temple Square and across the way from the City Creek Mall.

So far, so good.  The Plaza is a comfortable 3 star hotel with a spectacular view of the Salt Lake Temple.  There’s a nice restaurant in the hotel that serves reasonably priced comfort food.  The trolley stops at the front door.  Symphony Hall is across the street and the Family History Library is right next door.

Early the next morning, I caught the shuttle back to the airport for my flight home.

Oh no.  The flight was overbooked again.  Was it possible to volunteer again?  Yes!  This time the gate agent offered a $500 airline voucher, $30 in food vouchers, and another reservation at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel.

I returned to the airport the following morning for my flight, and yet again, there were more passengers than seats.  Again, I was offered a $500 airline voucher, $30 in food vouchers, and a booking on a flight later that morning.

When I finally arrived home there was a surprise waiting.  An email from United Airlines apologized for the delay in my morning flight and offered a voucher for $75.  So the net haul was $1475.  Thank you Ralph Nadar!

What’s the catch?

In making reservations for a future trip, I learned that vouchers can not be combined.  Only one voucher can be applied to each ticket.  Nevertheless, this was an easy way to earn free travel.

Do you have a story of a triple bump?

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3 thoughts on “Romancing the Triple Bump

  1. I was hoping to get bumped again when I flew out of SLC in March but there were empty seats on the flight. The gate agents recognized me though, and moved me up to Economy Plus. I was so grateful for the extra legroom. Shout out to the United gate agents in Salt Lake City — you guys excel at customer service!

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